Have you had your email or your computer hacked? Yes, you probably have at one point or another, and it has probably happened quite innocently. You probably clicked on something that looked real and next thing you know your friends are calling you to tell you that they are getting odd emails from you about "unusual services that they never thought you offered."

So what can you do to keep things 'ship shape' on your computer or emails? October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, so let's look at what all the experts say you need to do about your passwords that will make it tough for someone to crack, and probably tough for you to remember as well.

What does your password need to help make it more secure?

Internet crime and electronic banking security

There are two things that my hacker friend Chris tells me about passwords, and at first I thought he was nuts. Here are the two things, make your password a sentence, and secondly, change your password often. The sentence should be something that is like "TacoTuesdayis$655." In that password, you have capitalized letters, lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation. 

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What else should do with your passwords to help make your online life more secure?

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

Here is another thing I had a hard time with, initially, I since stopped doing it. Don't use the same password on multiple sites or accounts. If you only have one password, the hacker will only need that one password to access all of your accounts. Shouldn't you make them work for it? Work so hard for it, that they give up and move on to the next person?

How can you store all these 'new super safe passwords' so you don't forget them?

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

My mom took an old rolodex, used one card per account, and then locked it up in her safe so no one else had access. While its low tech, its not exactly the safest thing for everyone. There are things called password managers that will encrypt your password and store them until you need to access them. The other thing that I have started to do, which is inconvenient, but safer than not doing anything, is enabling multi-factor authentication on some accounts and apps.  That is the process of getting a text or a phone call to your registered device, with a code that you have to enter, to prove that it is really you.

Does this seem excessive? Depends, do you want to just hand over a crook your valuable information? Or do you at least want to make them sweat a bit and not get it?

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